I’ve upgraded my main blog to WordPress 2.0 (in fact, I did so just a few days before the official release). But I can certainly understand why many users are reluctant to upgrade. WordPress 2.0 contains many enhancements, but they are not going to entice everyone. In fact, the enhancements seem to target two groups: plugin developers and blog-newbies. The under-the-engine changes are impressive. Writing plugins for WordPress 2.0 is faster and easier than ever. I’ve been looking at my plugins, and noticing that I am going to be able to rip out entire sections of code that is no longer needed, because of WordPress 2.0’s enhancements. The role system is great… and will be even better once that rumored 3rd party role manager plugin is released (and please, bundled with future versions of WordPress!) But the role changes are only of use for a small percentage of blogs… and the plugins to take advantage of the changes are still few.
As for the outside-the-hood enhancements, they seem to mainly target users who are not internet- or blog-savy. Exhibit A: the WYSIWYG post editor. This is the feature that would get my mom interested. Average Joe blogger can type <em></em> in his sleep, so this feature isn’t really of use to him. The other enhancements like the collapsible and repositionable post area elements are nice, but not must-haves. The image uploading changes are once again more oriented towards beginner use. The admin looks nicer, but not Mint nice… not “I must have it so I can pet it” nice.
Not much is offered to the regular blogger. What’s more… some plugins (I’m guessing about 10%) will need to be updated to work with WordPress 2.0. Overall, there just isn’t a compelling reason for Joe blogger to upgrade… now. However, I do think that the exciting under-the-hood changes are going to lead to bigger, better, and easier-to-use plugins coming from plugin developers. So it may be that while the under-the-hood changes don’t provide a good reason for Joe blogger to upgrade right now, the 3rd party enhancements made possible by the engine changes will end up being the main attraction. I know that I’m certainly not going to be spending too much effort writing plugins with WordPress 1.5.x compatibility. I will when I can, but not if it’s going to hinder me. I don’t want to be held back, I want to prod people forward, and entice them to upgrade.
If you’ve decided not to upgrade, leave a comment on Owen’s post and explain why. I think that a lot of people just don’t yet have a compelling reason to upgrade… but if you’re not upgrading because of some change in WordPress 2.0 that you regard as a step backwards, then speak up, by all means.